The day dawned with beautiful blue skies for young Zach’s sixth birthday! Hannah blew up the balloons and they were stored in the hammock.

Like all good last blogs this will be mostly pictures of a truly successful day. With 15 children; composed of nine boys and six girls the receipe for disaster turned out only to be in the heads of grumpy adults like me. Two kids didn’t make it but amazingly everyone got on swimmingly. Laurent led the way with games, bubbles and magic! The bouncy trampoline (famous from very many ‘You’ve Been Framed’ clips. Harry Hill, ‘Am I the only person in the world without one of these in their back garden?’ ) erected with Dean’s help was a terrific success.

Dean seen above deciding whether or not to have one more puff on his electronic cigarette! And so to the cake now wonderfully decorated by Laura, brilliantly cooked by Mary, that tasted so wonderful I did allow myself one tiny, tiny slice.

More games then led onto the food and this time the crisps were held back till right at the end; a lesson learned from last year! Everyone in 2015 filled up on crisps, as they hit the table first and a lot of the ‘food’ got left. This year there was no such problem.

imageThe crowds gathered for the cake consumption!

Quite a spread including food cooked on the bar-b-q by Laura. The afternoon drew on and a rather larger balloon sailed majestically across the valley only observed by cows and a few interested adults.

Below Hannah looking interested in something and Laurent and Zach engaged in studying maybe the same something.

The amount of presents that Zach collected looked like a small corner of Hamleys; well quite a large corner actually! And who had the bright idea of turning him into a young William Tell, I’m not too sure but let’s hope he doesn’t find too quickly a volunteer willing to put an apple on top of his head.

So today Sunday we are all off for a meal in a restaurant for lunch as the thought of cooking, after yesterday’s activities, for six adults and two children was somewhat daunting for everyone. And then that will be it; farewell Switzerland after our longest stay ever. Geneva airport will once more seen the Treen’s sadly return to the UK. I was talking to Julian, Laurent’s brother about farming and I was saying what hard work it all looked, also obviously in England. Seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a year and no holidays; to which Julian replied, “Yes but what a beautiful office!” Says it all really; so here’s to the next time.

Thank you for reading and take care. Malcolm Β & Mary πŸ‚πŸ‚πŸ‚βœˆοΈ


Zach off this morning to gym at school. Laurent walked down to the bus stop with him accompanied by Safi at 0800 and Mary began to bake! Well 15 children need a lot of cake to bake to cater for! So two have been started, if not yet decorated and filled with jam. Oooooh!

imageYumee. Let the fun begin. Laura and Hannah and Dean have landed at Geneva at 16-27 and Safi, Zach and myself watched on Flightradar 24 as it came into the airport.

Laurent mowed the lawns in preparation for little people playing tomorrow and young Zach helped.

And cats played in the sunshine, while I gazed out of the kitchen window and could see snow on the mountains still.

It’s called Le Moleson and I feel rather beats the view in Globe Farm Lane of Debs and Gary’s house opposite. No offence Debs and Gary! The vote was to stay put after the lawn mowing, so games, jigsaws and sticking jewels in books did happen but finally the children of the iPad returned.

Safi and Mary admiring Laurent and Zachs work, before going indoors with flowers.

And when boredom even overtook that a very feminine plea came along for CBBC’s! Butter wouldn’t, would it?

imageSo a very deep breath before the party tomorrow after which the holiday relief staff can collapse in a heap on Sunday back on the flight back home. That’s Mary and me by the way! Away to pick up the gang from the railway station and everybody’s loins can be gurded.

Thanks for reading. Malcolm and Mary πŸŒ²πŸ‚πŸ‡¨πŸ‡­πŸ·πŸ‚πŸ‚πŸ‡¨πŸ‡­πŸŒ²πŸ‚



If the Swiss bar-b-q season had started yesterday because of the wonderful sunshine it came to an abrupt end last night at about ten o’clock. The rain hammered down. God (if he does exists…see day 3) in his infinite wisdom decided to open the heavens and let the rain come down, testing the drainage and the guttering on the new extension to its full capacity. And when it’s like that and still like that this morning, you just don’t want to go out and sit in a flower pot.

Laurent had come home late last night and appeared to say hello to the gang at breakfast and Mary and I took Zach in the car to the pick up point for the school bus and then onwards once more to the co-op that we are now as familiar with as Waitrose in Yateley. A call from the guys who are going to clear Auntie Joan’s house down in Devon confirming that all the rest of the furniture can be removed on May 26th. Amazingly they found more documents, some jewellery and some Β£5 coins, in two draws in mums bed that we had no idea existed! They are going to leave it all out on the bed and we can collect it on Wednesday May 25th. We shall watch them cart the gear away on the Thursday and that will be that, our long association with Devon will finally be over.

Both cats spent a lot of time indoors the weather being so showery and wet. And so did we. Tomorrow Mary will be mostly baking in preparation for Zachs party on Saturday and I shall be picking up Laura, Hannah and Dean at the railway station tomorrow at around 7-15p.m. So a short blog tonight as not a lot happened!

I must mention one wonderful thing that did happen on day 1 as we arrived and I exchanged greetings with Zach was his observation, “Your French is much better, I think.” So just the six French lessons I had at night school had paid off. I was impressed.

Thankyou for reading. Malcolm & Mary πŸ‚πŸ‚πŸ‚πŸŒ²πŸŒ²πŸŒ²πŸŒ²


Zach only had half a day at school today, so we planned to head off to Gruyeres, where we have often stayed on previous visits. We had tried to get to the playground next to the cheese factory there on Monday but there was some sort of ‘do’ on and you couldn’t get anywhere near it.

There is a cafe/restaurant inside the factory that we have eaten at before and children are well catered for; suddenly you have to programme these things in when you idly say ‘let’s go for lunch somewhere.’ So we arrived at about 12-30 and decided to beat the rush and eat first, then hit the slides and swings. The meal went very well everyone choosing the trout, salad and French fries and I’m afraid even me, the scales at Slimming World hanging above my head. Ice cream for afters, well that’s what grandparents are for, surely?

Again it was really good when the sun shone but quite chilly when the wind blew. They have cows on the roof, well you would wouldn’t you? And it’s surrounded by very Swiss looking houses.

I do believe we have a music box almost identical in design to the house on the right. Once the swings got boring Mary became the centre of attention.

I think the chef de jour maybe a little tired herself tonight! So home for dinner and another early bath methinks.

And time to reflect on the day’s events as the sun goes down! Laurent returns from his travels later tonight and Laura flies in on Friday with Hannah & Dean for the birthday celebration on Saturday.

imageThank you for reading. Malcolm & Mary πŸ‚πŸ‚πŸ‚πŸΊπŸΊπŸ‡¨πŸ‡­πŸ‡¨πŸ‡­πŸ‡¨πŸ‡­


imageThis is the view of the farmhouse from the front, now complete with new windows. Zach got off to school on the eight a.m. bus absolutely fine and we waved goodbye to our little translator. The problem with Safi is that she understands every word you say in English but only replies in French. I was in the bathroom when outside of the window, up in the wooden eves, casually meandered a Pine Martin, that Mary had seen yesterday. It has obviously made a lovely home in warm insulation material up in the roof lining because if you lean out of the window you see where the material has been pulled out.

imageI googled the beast and up came a picture of a Swiss footballer wrestling one to the ground during a game and getting bitten for his troubles. So they are obviously pretty common over here but to see one wander past your bathroom window is bit unnerving as they are amazingly large. So on the whole a peaceful morning but then Mary went to collect Zach from the 11-40a.m. bus back for lunch and nothing. I got a phone call from Laura in England to say the school had called Lilian in Switzerland, the other grandmother to tell her the bus would be late and she called Laura who then called me. Keep up at the back! So annoying they don’t feed them at school for lunch but that is what happens over here. Anyway I drove the car down as I realised it may be a long, cold wait and Mary remained in situ, while Safi, who had accompanied her sat in the car. There had been some sort of incident involving firemen, Zach informed us, and maybe we will learn more later but the bus finally arrived from the wrong direction at about 12-30! So a blind panic to get lunch sorted and eaten before a late departure back at 13-20 instead of 13-15! So Swiss precision timing flew well out of the window today.

The serious face of Safi and the happy one!

The view from the lounge the other way, rather than down the valley and the cows in the field just outside the front door, just to the right of the car above.

Two faces of Zach. Those second teeth will fill the gaps soon, I’m sure.

We were no wiser at the end of the day about the fireman and what must have been a road closure but I’m sure all will be revealed soon. So dinner beckons and then the end of a fairly sunny but still chilly day on tranquility farm.

Thanks for reading Malcolm & Mary πŸ‚πŸ‚πŸ‚πŸŒ²πŸŒ²πŸŒ²


Only 08-40 a.m. and already the tranquillity of the valley is broken by screaming and tears from the playroom over the possession of marbles. One feels as an adult if the row had been over ‘does God exist?’ the excuse for a good family punch up would be much more justified but I guess when you are ages six and three the quantity of marbles that you own are high debating stakes indeed. The day has dawned bright and sunny but with still a cool breeze in the air, which is good for perambulating and generally mucking about.

So away to Romont to re visit a play area with slides and swings that we have been to before. Anything to keep them both away from iPads and computers, which are great to expand their creative minds if they are both to grow up to be computer programmers (which on current showing, is highly likely and if you have any immediate IT issues, Zach I am sure, would be happy to help.) but they don’t exercise the body or get fresh air down their lungs. Gone are the days of a little afternoon nap, for the moment this now applies both to me as well as them, and their energy remains at a phenomenally high level during the entire day. I have hunted for the mains switch to turn them both off or the batteries to remove but alas no luck; so we have to maintain our energy levels in order just to keep up.

So we found the swings and various we had visited before, leaving the house to look after itself. A view in the utility room always reminds me of the inside of a submarine engine room; not that I have ever been in one but if I ever did it surely would closely resemble the shots below.

Anyway I digress; back to the swings and remember although the sun is shining you will notice everyone has a coat on! And the view is almost what you can see behind the swings, how fantastic is that?

The first time we came here Zach wasn’t too sure about the rope slide (that’s it on the left below) and I had to help him on; he has quickly conquered it and now mounts the beast himself.

Safi likes playing in a little wooden Wendy house and posed outside for publicity pictures. As well as playing on the see-saw assisted by Mary.

Everyone one had a go on the springy bike things and the session ended with a game of football, where Zach saved many goals but Safi scored a real beauty.

Coffee at the co-op and more light shopping before home for a light lunch of sausage (chicken for me) and baked beans. Cutting up and making stuff to keep eyes off eye pads and another day passes reasonably peacefully and into the history books. One wonderful moment when deciding whose turn to shoot at goal Safi pronounced,”Ce’st moi.” I replied translating and hoping she might repeat,” It’s me!” To which she replied emphatically,” Non, ce’st moi!” You couldn’t write it.


Oh and yes and Mary is still taking lovely pictures of flowers, as well as some of the above. And cats are sitting in strange places round these parts!

Thanks for reading Malcolm & Mary ⚽️⚽️


The flight was fairly early at 08-55 from Terminal 2 at Heathrow, so we were up and about at around 04-30. Stupid boy who is definitely beginning to lose his marbles (not all but I have decided there is a small hole in the bag) booked the parking at Terminal 3. As luck would have it, it is a fairly short walk underground, in parts of Heathrow I never knew existed, from the wrong car park to the right terminal.

We arrived to slight drizzle but as the journey progressed in the upgrade (thank you Avis) of a rather nice Mercedes, the weather closed in. Then began a torrential downpour that got better and then got worse. Nothing worse than travelling in a foreign country, on the wrong side of the road, on a motorway in appalling weather. I do have to admit that we have been so many times now, itΒ does no longer feel ‘foreign’ but the journey in parts was abominable.

The end of the day was perfect and that view from the farm house never ceases to look wonderful.


A good nights sleep saw us all arise at a the very gentle hour of 07-30. Both Zach and Safi appearing almost together at the same moment. And that’s the reason we are here; to child mind for the week. Laura working in England and Laurent away in Bangkok. We took over from the other grandparents Jean-Denis and Lilian who had also had almost a week of supervision.

Next Saturday will see Zach arrive at six years old, quite how that has happened so quickly who knows.

Safi looking busy at her ‘Frozen’ style desk. And the cat is a roaming stranger who has adopted them, and the family have called ‘Jango’.

Both of them enjoyed the late sunshine. Tomorrow is a bank holiday here, so no school for Zach and another active day to think of filling and entertaining. Wish us luck.

Thanks for reading. Malcolm & Mary. πŸŒ²πŸŒΉπŸ‚πŸ‚ 🌲🌲🌲